How Exercise Effects Your Digestive System
Everyone knows how important exercise is for your body. But exercise affects your digestive system in many ways — some good and some not so good. And different types of exercise have different effects on the digestive system.
First the good news. Exercise can improve the efficiency of the digestive process, help you maintain a healthy weight and may help with most minor digestive problems, from bloating to constipation. It also helps reduce stress, which makes many digestive problems worse.
Unfortunately, the impact of exercise on your digestive system isn’t always positive, especially if you’re a runner. Digestive complaints in runners may be caused by the direct impact of running on the colon. Running can cause digestive disorders such as nausea and diarrhea, which are often more common in runners who train hard, and especially women who run. In addition, acute gastritis and gastro-oesophageal reflux symptoms are also common in runners.
That doesn’t mean you should stop running. Instead, follow some common-sense guidelines to reduce the adverse effect running can have on your digestive system. Don’t run on a full stomach; allow two hours after a meal before taking a run. Practice light exercise such as yoga and Pilates to improve the efficiency of your digestive system and reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can cause digestive disorders, too.
Consult with your physician before starting an exercise program if you are pregnant, elderly, under the age of 16 or if you have been inactive.
Dr. James C. Strobel MD
Dr. Strobel joined our practice in July of 1997. He received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University in Bloomington, and his medical degree from Indiana University in Indianapolis. Following this, Dr. Strobel completed his residency in Internal Medicine, and after three years of additional training, completed his fellowship in Gastroenterology at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Strobel is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Gastroenterology. He is married and the proud father of three children. In his free time, he enjoys basketball, baseball, reading, and spending time with his family.
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